ABSTRACTING AND ERASING

 

In 1912 Marcel Duchamp painted Bride, a “highly abstracted biomechanical rendering of the human form.” In 1930 Jacques Villon (Duchamp’s brother), created an aquatint of Duchamp’s Bride, purposely taking liberties with the representation, thereby further abstracting the image. In 1986 Jasper Johns produced eight untitled tracings (ink on plastic) of Villon’s aquatint, abstracting the image further. In 2000 I photographed, using 35mm film, a section of a reproduction of a section of one of John’s tracings reproduced in a retrospective catalog of his work. From that 35mm photograph, I produced a first and second generation photomontage, further abstracting the image. On 16 April 2012, I dug out of storage that same catalog and took a new photograph using a DSLR Nikon camera.

 

One hundred years after Marcel Duchamp, utilizing the technology of his time, created his original painting, I, using a MacBook Pro and Photoshop as my canvas, created a new first generation photomontage. Using the new first generation photomontage as a foundation, I proceeded to push the process. A total of twenty-five photomontage pieces has been created. In the case of each photomontage, the image has been abstracted further than the one that proceeded it.

 

The focus of this project is on both the results and the process.

 

Each photomontage uses as its base, a small section from the one that proceeded it. In each case, the photomontage, the image, becomes increasingly smaller, intricate, and more complex. As a result, once the process has been pushed far enough, the photomontage, the image, begins to lose its form, becoming a shade of color instead.  The result, from beginning to end, is that the sequence of photomontages slowly erases the image.

 

The process is mechanical, and could easily be managed by a computer program. Like Andy Warhol or Brian Eno, I am interested in constructing a system or process that will do the creating for me. While the labor of placing and arranging the photos fell to me, the system or process handled itself.

 

The following are a few images from the series.

All Copyright Michael P. Toussaint 2017